Mental health is very significant these days. In one viral post by an employee asking for a mental health break, the entire working force was encouraged to push the idea that one should give importance to one’s mental health status. According to Patricia Harteneck, Ph.D, “Mental health is much more than a diagnosis. It’s your overall psychological well-being—the way you feel about yourself and others as well as your ability to manage your feelings and deal with everyday difficulties.”
If you are working the 9 to 5 grind, balancing work and family time, dealing with deadlines and demanding bosses, your mental health can be compromised. As this happens, you will see that there are changes in your productivity, relationships, and outlook in life. Experts believe that taking time off from work can change one’s perspectives towards a stressful environment. We recommend that one should also go into the habit of having a mental health planner to monitor and track one’s mental health status.
What is a Mental Health Planner?
My college friend and I started this a long time ago as we are preparing for our thesis and final defense. The last year in college is taking a toll on us, so we decided to work on it. In order not to lose sight of our wellbeing, we devised a planner to track our habits and see if there was a significant change in our behavior and mood. “When we translate an experience into language we essentially make the experience graspable.” Dr. James Pennebaker, a well-renowned social psychologist, wrote.
The planner consisted of the following significant pages: (1) Prioritize this week!, (2) Water therapy, (3) Physical Activity, (4) Gratitude Log, and (5) Mood tracker.
Prioritize this week!
We need to identify what needs the most important thing to do – that something which is highly required to accomplish among anything else. Focus on these things before moving forward to other tasks. This way, you are exclusively dedicated to completing the work and give all your best, review and make any relevant changes then start a new task. “High achievers put effort into their work and never miss deadlines, even though some may complete a task minutes before the cutoff point,“ according to Mary C. Lamia Ph.D. You can also modify this by breaking the tasks into chunks. If you think that all that you have listed are important and needs immediate attention, cut them into several parts and allow equal time to work on them until it is completed.
Hydration is essential to energize body cells. Studies show that dehydration can lead to slow brain activity and slow physical activity. The recommended daily water intake is 1.5 liters to 2 liters per day. There are many creative ways to incorporate water therapy into your planner. You can jot down the number of glasses you have taken, or tally the frequencies that you drank water for the day. If you are on the techy side, many available digital apps can help you track your water intake.
I am not really into exercising, so this is the hardest part of my planner to accomplish. However, research has provided significant information on the relationship between depression and heightened levels of anxiety and the lack of physical activity. I started doing morning walks and some strenuous exercise like joining a dance class twice a week. So far, I am enjoying the routine and the company of other participants. The more you are moving, the more endorphins are released from the body, thus making you more happy than depressed.
Anything that you are thankful for, you can write it here. If someone praises you for excellent work done, write it down. Something that is positive uplifts one’s mood increase self-esteem, and it can contribute to one’s mental wellness.
What is your mood today? Are you grumpy, anxious, nervous, anxious, fearful, happy, sad, sleepy, tired, etc.? In a month, after doing this tracking activity, look at this page and observe how your mood fluctuated (or maybe not all) and relate them to your daily activities? Has it affected your dealings with other people or with your work? This is a great start to check on your emotions and behaviors and makes changes along the way.